According to the California Department of Justice, hundreds of thousands of gun owners in the state may have been exposed to a data breach that looks to be significantly more extensive than the agency first revealed.
Some of those who applied for or were denied licenses to carry concealed firearms from 2011 to 2021 have had their personal information made public as a result of a data leak. Assault Weapons Registry, Handguns Certified for Sale, Dealer Record of Sale, Firearm Certificate Safety, and Gun Violence Restraining Order dashboards were also affected, according to the Department.
Attorney General Jerry Brown has launched a probe into the leak, saying he was “very troubled and irritated” by a lack of protection for sensitive material.
According to Rob Bonta, “this illegal dissemination of personal information is reprehensible and falls far below my expectations for this department.”
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office announced on Wednesday that it had been made aware of the data leak. Rather than affecting only those who had been issued a concealed carry permit, it was initially thought that the exposure had harmed everyone who had one.
Lawmakers, California law enforcement, and gun-rights groups were outraged about the breach. The California Rifle and Pistol Association termed the revelation “unconscionable” and said it exposed law enforcement officials and vulnerable groups including “rape and domestic violence victims” who had applied for permits.
On Monday afternoon, the state’s department of justice said that an update to its Firearms Dashboard Portal had exposed the data. Shortly before the EPA shut down the website on Tuesday, the information was available on a public spreadsheet. Financial and social security numbers were withheld.
According to the organization, it is still too early to tell how many people were affected or whether the information was downloaded in any way. It appears, according to the California State Sheriffs’ Association, that “material was duplicated and at least a portion of it was uploaded on the internet” before the justice department identified the breach, the association stated.
Sheriff Kory Honea of Butte County, who is also the president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, said that he was “infuriated” that those who had been adhering to the law had been put at risk by this breach.
As a result of the scandal, Bonta has promised to “take robust corrective steps if appropriate.
‘The California Department of Justice is trusted to protect Californians and their data,’ said the mission statement. Individuals whose personal information was leaked may feel “stressed,” Bonta acknowledged.
There would be notification and credit monitoring services provided, he said, by the department.
According to the California Department of Justice’s website, the number of concealed-carry permits issued in the state last year fell from more than 100,000 in 2016.